CEDAR RAPIDS — This Major Arena Soccer League match will have a different feel for the Cedar Rapids Rampage.
Former Rampage player-coach Hewerton Moreira was an instrumental figure in the first two seasons of professional soccer in Cedar Rapids. Sunday, he will be a first-time foe as player-coach of the St. Louis Ambush.
“It’s going to be different,” Cedar Rapids midfielder Gordy Gurson said. “We know how Hewerton likes to play, though, so we know his system and the way he’s training St. Louis, so hopefully we can adjust to that and turn our defense around his offense and put up some points against him.”
The Central Division contest begins at 3:05 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center. Cedar Rapids (1-3) will play for a second-consecutive home victory and attempt to keep Moreira and St. Louis (0-3) winless.
“We know it’s going to be a battle,” Gurson said. “Any division game is going to be tough. ... It’s our first home division game. I think we’re excited to come in after the holiday and take care of business.”
After leading the MASL in assists during Cedar Rapids’ 5-15 expansion season two years ago, Moreira was elevated to player-coach last season and directed the club to a 12-8 record. Once his contract with Cedar Rapids expired, Moreira was hired to construct a similar turnaround with St. Louis, which was 1-19 last season.
“It’s going to be interesting seeing him come back here where he coached us last year, really changed the program around,” Rampage midfielder Bobby Hurwitz said. “I’m sure he’s teaching them most of the same stuff, but he does a lot of different things and honestly you never really know what’s coming at you. You can try and figure it out during the game if you remember, but either way, I think it will be a good game.”
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Gurson and Hurwitz are two of five Rampage players (Taylor Bond, Pablo Da Silva, Derek Huffman) that have posted a team-high three goals.
After a pair of one-score road defeats, the Rampage found a successful formula Nov. 18 against Harrisburg with four unanswered goals and a fourth-quarter shutout to earn their first victory.
“I think this game we just really realized, ‘Man, we really want this. We need this win,’” Hurwitz said. “We’ve got to keep the wins going and I think if everybody feels that way every game, we should have no problem.”
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